A team of parliamentarians probing payments to companies that supplied goods to South Sudan prior to the outbreak of war has embarked on a task to establish the authenticity of the said companies. According to a news story by Uganda Radio Network, the committee has in recent weeks been reviewing a payment of $41m (Shs152bn) advanced to 10 Ugandan companies that supplied goods and services to South Sudan between 2008 and 2013 when war broke out. The companies, under the Uganda-South Sudan Grain Traders and Suppliers Association Ltd, supplied maize and sorghum to 10 South Sudan states under the Strategic Grain Reserves Suppliers for $56m (Shs208bn) between 2008-2010.
Under the agreement, the money was to be paid in five instalments. However, the South Sudan government only paid the first instalment of $15m (Shs56bn), leaving a debt of $41m (Shs152bn) prior to the outbreak of the civil war in 2013.
The government has since secured parliamentary approval to clear the debt on behalf of the South Sudan government to traders who have been verified. The South Sudan government will then pay back the money based on a repayment schedule agreed upon in a five-year Bilateral Agreement that runs from 2018- 2022. Committee Member and Masaka Municipality MP Mathias Mpuuga says that the team has received complaints that some of the companies that claimed compensation are non-existent. Mpuga says that the team has now resolved to visit the companies and establish the truth about their operations, their premises, and capacity to supply goods worth the amount being claimed.
He says their focus will be mostly on the 10 companies that were subject to the 2010 Memorandum of Understanding between Uganda and South Sudan. They include Rubya Investments, Kibungo Enterprises, Aponye (U) Limited, Afro Kai Ltd, Swift Commodities Establishment Ltd, Sunrise Commodities, Ms Sophie Omari, Apo General Agencies, Ropani International and K.K Transporters. The probe will later review the companies that were validated but not included on the list for payment. They include; Roko Construction Company, Ake-jo General enterprise, JB Traders, Odyek Ejang Company, Dott Services, Gunya company limited, Premier company, MFK company among others. Mpuuga says currently they are doing a background check on all of these companies. Committee chairperson Ann Maria Nankabirwa says that their investigation has also been hampered by the absence of key documents on the operations of the companies and the supplies for which compensation is being sought. The investigations into Sudanese supplier companies were called by the PST Keith Muhakanizi after detecting irregularities. State Minister for Finance David Bahati is one of the key figures that have been influencing expedited compensation of companies that made losses in South Sudan Supplies. For Comments call or text us on 0752510225.